Adjective lesson plans are here! If you are looking for alternatives to adjective worksheets, I have ideas.
My goal with any grammar instruction is to carry the ideas to other parts of class. For adjectives, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to work with them in informational texts, literature, and writing. Advertisers love to use adjectives, and your students probably can identify them through a quick scroll through their phones.
These grammar activities are easy to personalize and will support your grammar lessons. I never want to talk down to my older students, and I’m sensitive to that during eight parts of speech lessons with older students. When you’re writing adjective lesson plans for older students, you’ll want age-appropriate activities.
For instance, a primary teacher (a friend of mine) said she asks students to get out their white boards and write adjectives that describe her. The students take turns flipping their boards over to surprise her. That sounds so sweet, and I can picture her third graders thinking of adjectives like “nice” and “pretty” to flatter their teacher.
But you know. . . I’m not risking that activity with tweens and teens. Over the years, I’ve developed adjective activities for older students. Sometimes I will use an adjective worksheet to start my lesson and turn the process into a creative endeavor with higher order thinking. You are welcome to download my activity sheet to consult while teaching adjectives:
As always, a fast way to connect grammar to writing is to take a normal activity (worksheet, mentor sentences) and ask students to expand the writing already present. I often attach the candy-writing assignment (below) to creative writing lessons.
Hopefully, you’ll see how many of the activities below can meet multiple standards and connect to students’ lives with a few twists. If you’re introducing the parts of speech, reviewing adjectives before working with coordinate adjectives, or sorting out adjective and adverb confusion, you can use these adjective lesson plans.
With many older students, they simply need a quick adjective review. I’ve had classes that need a fast (like five minutes!) of discussion concerning adjectives. These sort of classes remember an adjective’s definition and can locate them, but they might miss a few tricky ones. For example, before teaching the rules of coordinate adjectives, we will quickly find adjectives from an adjective worksheet. I try to address what will help students the most without boring them. A quick worksheet might be an easy fix.
It’s worth mentioning that coordinate adjectives can positively add to student essays. Coordinate adjectives are two adjectives in a row that modify the same noun. The adjectives can be exchanged and the message will still make sense. Another trick to explain to students is that a writer can add “and” between the two adjectives and they will still make sense. (You can also write more than two adjectives with coordinate adjectives, but typically writers only use two.) For instance:
- The sharp, pointy scissors easily cut the paper. (Both sharp and pointy modify scissors. You could replace the commas with and.)
- The itchy wool sweater sits on my closet shelf. (Switching itchy and wool will not made sense. They both modify sweater, but they are not coordinate adjectives.)
Before students can implement coordinate adjectives, they must be able to recognize adjectives.
If students struggle with adjectives and adverbs in writing or vocabulary lessons, we will work on task cards for a lengthier discussion. Task cards allow for older students to problem-solve together and are a quick add to adjective lesson plans. Plus as students break into smaller groups, I can articulate finer points.
Finally, we might review adjectives with all parts of speech. As I continue with vocabulary lessons (for example), I might realize that students struggle to switch between the different forms of a word. A review of parts of speech connected to vocabulary lessons fixes a few of those errors.
So! Decide what detail your students need. Older students can identify adjectives most of the time. I don’t always jump in with a full lesson, but if they are simply not grasping adjectives, I expand my lessons.
Sticky note review
If you read my post about teaching nouns, you know that I ask students to label nouns in my room. Typically, I provide plain yellow sticky notes for the nouns. Students identify nouns, and I leave the sticky notes as reminders. We enjoy ourselves as we label ALL of the nouns in my classroom.
Then, when students work on adjectives, I distribute colorful sticky notes for colorful adjectives. Students label those nouns with adjectives. “Door” has new sticky notes: gray, hard, ugly, plain, rectangular, thick, and cold.
As an extension activity, grab the noun and adjective sticky notes and turn them into sentences. It’s a great opportunity to practice power verbs and review punctuation. When students enjoy a grammar activity and find success with it, connect the grammar to writing. It is important that students find grammar enjoyable and that they realize the can apply the concepts to writing.
If you haven’t guessed from the images in this post, I often ask students to write about candy. You can use any food item or any object, really. I’ve found that a variety of candy brings about a variety of adjectives. Plus, candy. The “writing about candy adjective activity” makes for a perfect Friday afternoon grammar lesson.
Grab some bags of candy and inexpensive coffee filters from the store. Set out the bags and ask students to put a few pieces in a coffee filter. (Coffee filters are great for classroom snacks. They don’t tip over, are inexpensive, and hold tons of food.)
The next step depends on what your students can handle. I’ve done a variety of activities:
- Ask students to describe at least two different kinds of candy with different adjectives.
- Describe one candy to another piece of candy. This encourages students to write about both types of candy, and you .
- Create a marketing piece for the candy using adjectives.
You could also present those three ideas to students and allow them to choose. If you need a collaborative activity, provide a Google Slides presentation to groups and encourage multiple descriptions of each piece of candy. Finally, starting with something fun and manageable like the candy project is a great springboard into adjective clauses.
Students understand language when they play with it and when they see it in areas outside of a worksheet. Ask students to find adjectives in what they are reading. You can find adjectives in book spine poetry, for example. When you cover characterization with a particular character, ask students to identify the adjectives the author used about that character. With a graphic organizer, the students can organize the adjectives. You can easily scaffold the process concerning where students find the adjectives.
Another alternative is to hunt for adjectives in books. I pull books from my classroom library and let students sort through them, searching for adjectives in the titles. Not only are students searching for adjectives, but they are also interacting with books. For students who enjoy a language arts class because of the language aspect, this is a nice opportunity for connecting books to their interest. I have students complete a one-pager to visualize the adjectives.
The one-pager also allows me to sneak in creative writing. Students can imagine the first page of a book, of course using adjectives.
Adjective station work
After a class abides by procedures and routines, I begin grammar stations with them. Students work together and move. Plus, if it feels like a class is on the verge of grasping adjectives, I get real-time feedback. When students finish their work, I can take notes as to what students understand where we need to work more. Stations also allow me to rotate throughout the room and provide feedback to individual groups. Students who might be reluctant to ask questions in front of everyone are more comfortable talking one-on-one.
Station work can be made from anything. You can use sentences from an adjective worksheet and change the directions to make them more engaging. (If you want to make a grammar worksheet more engaging, try an activity I’ve outlined in my higher order thinking grammar activities.) I do have my adjective station work incredibly organized, and that allows me to add task cards or extra practice to the rotations. Not all of station work needs to be graded, either! Many times, I ask students to take a picture of their best station for credit.
The beauty of mentor sentences is that you can find them anywhere. Mentor sentences allow the teacher some freedom because they do not have to create sentences, and the activity naturally connects grammar to other parts of class. Here are some places I commonly find mentor sentences for adjective lesson plans.
Beloved classroom story
If you have a story students enjoy, pull a few sentences and focus on the adjectives. (Save the story and use it again with another grammatical concept.) You can also use the adjectives to investigate what the author stated about characters, the setting, or conflicts. How did those adjectives add to the reader’s image of the story?
First Chapter Friday
Not only do I find mentor sentences as I read throughout the year, but I also use sentences I find as we read First Chapter Friday books. Then I have a starting point with a new lesson: Last week when we were reading our First Chapter Friday, I noticed this sentence. (Supply the sentence.) What made that sentence memorable was the use of modifiers. What are they? Do they reveal something about the story?
One part of teaching grammar is acknowledging that some students may have never looked at their language in a positive manner. Understanding grammar is more than identifying what is wrong with a piece of writing. Take a few moments to positively connect grammar to literature like with a First Chapter Friday book. Your efforts will be rewarded when students engage with other grammar activities.
Another method of using mentor sentences is for students to find sentences that hold meaning for them. One way to organize this is to ask students to supply a sentence in a digital form as an exit ticket. Then, assemble those sentences to start the next day’s discussion. I have also handed students a note card as they enter class with instructions to find a quote from literature, a speech, or a television show that contains an adjective. Not only will you be reviewing grammar, but you will also be building relationships.
The more students engage with their language in a variety of ways, the more willing they are to learn more.
When teaching adjectives with older students, think about what will move them to mastery. Sometimes, you won’t need to spend multiple class periods working with adjectives. Adjective worksheets can provide direct instruction and a quick review. If your students need in-depth practice with adjectives, add a one-pager, station work, or task cards to your adjective lesson plans. Mentor sentences or a writing opportunity can mold grammar lessons for mature students.
Once we engage students with adjectives and provide multiple opportunities to interact with them, we will have successful adjective lesson plans. You can add one of these activities to creative writing or literary analysis lessons too.
If you are teaching the eight parts of speech, you might be interested in more parts of speech activities such as verbs, adverbs, and prepositions. As always, I’ve provided grammar activities that go beyond the grammar worksheet.